An efficient cow is an environmentally friendly cow
Extension Dairy Management Specialist
Department of Dairy Science
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 265-8506 (608) 263-3308
2:42 – Total Time
0:16 – Productive cows good for environment
0:54 – A comprehensive study
1:29 – Cover the basics, rest is gravy
2:10 – More milk less emissions
2:33 – Lead out
Taking a look at the efficient dairy herd. We’re visiting today with Victor Cabrera, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
Sevie Kenyon: Victor can you give us an idea what you found in your research about the efficiency of cattle?
Victor Cabrera: It’s very exciting because we found, and we are reporting, a win-win situation which I think it’s very relevant to the dairy industry to show that actually cows that produce more, that they are more efficient, they will obviously make more net return more profitability but at the same they will decrease their environmental impact. In this case, we were mentioning the environmental impact based on greenhouse gas emissions. So per unit of milk produced, they will produce less greenhouse gas emissions with a higher net return.
Sevie Kenyon: Victor, what things factor into your calculations?
Victor Cabrera: Well, we try to be very comprehensive and we use this very well-known model that’s the Integrated Farm System model from the USDA. And in these, we plug in a representative farm from Wisconsin and we try to be as specific as possible. And there we tested different management strategies to see what would be the outcome regarding the economics, the net return and the environment.
Sevie Kenyon: And Victor, as cows give more milk, don’t they also eat more food and use more resources? How does that balance out?
Victor Cabrera: That’s completely true. They will eat more, but also they will already have covered the maintenance feed for example for the animal, so every additional feed that they will be consuming it will be specifically used in production. So from the standpoint of efficiency for the whole herd, they will be more efficient and that’s one of the things we tested. We actually tried to reach a potential maximum production and we found out that the closer they are to the potential they will be more efficient in both aspects – the economics and environment.
Sevie Kenyon: Victor, perhaps you can describe for us an example of what you mean.
Victor Cabrera: Farms that have the opportunity to increase the productivity, they should do it because according to our data that will return back better net return, better profitability for the farm. But also that will help the environment because per unit of milk being produced, there will be less emissions.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting today with Victor Cabrera, Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.